If I don’t write about last weekend, it’d be better I stop writing forever. As you might’ve noticed by now, I’m as lazy as a koala bear (or even worse). I have a lot of things on my head, but I always postpone the writing part. Now I’m sitting in front of my laptop, writing this down on my phone, to avoid regretting later.
Even before coming to Pune I had made a bucket list of things I wish to do once I’m settled here. That was the first mistake I did, not the making list part, but the condition of settling. Every week, I plan things to do with the few people that came along with me from Bangalore. Exploring the city, or the beautiful outskirts. Nothing worked. It turned out that most of them already have friends here with whom they hang out most of the time. And I had that realization that I’m the one who came absolutely alone. It wasn’t like they ignored or sidelined me, but I didn’t feel like barging into their little groups and ruin their fun. Then I decided I’d go and do everything I wanted on my own. But every weekend I found a reason not to go anywhere but stay on my bed and order something like pizza or shawarma online for the day. Sometimes I muster up all the motivation to get up, but it’ll be late in the evening and I’ll just go to the nearby shop to get a cornetto or chocolate truffle and again go to bed thinking may be next week I’ll do something better. The only places I visited was two malls not very far, because of some essential shopping I couldn’t avoid.
Last month, I went home twice, once for Eid and a week later for my cousin’s wedding. I’d have avoided that too if aunt hadn’t threatened me of disowning. I know. Even koala bears will surrender in front of this degree laziness. While going for wedding, I got food poisoning so the journey home wasn’t really great. Even for the wedding I couldn’t enjoy much, to the extent that I couldn’t even eat biriyani. Wedding without biriyani! That’s a first which I want to be the last as well. When I got back from home last Thursday after the wedding and extra two days sick leave which totals to about 16 days of the same month, I was back to that feeling of emptiness which got worse by the homesickness. Thinking about the coming weekend scared me. I opened meetup’s site which I open at times but never actually attend any. I was a member of many groups like, ‘Pune Potterheads’, ‘Book Lovers of Pune’ and many travel buff groups. I opened the calendar and saw two events, one was river rafting and the other, waterfall rappelling. I decided to give it a go this time. Many people had already reserved for the waterfall rappelling, which seemed the better choice as I had never done it before. Still it took me more than a day to decide whether to go or not. Friday, I messaged one of the organizers asking the details. She was really responsive and helpful that I finally decided to go.In a sudden rush of enthusiasm, I paid online for the trip, and evening I started to have regrets over paying early. I was afraid what if I didn’t wake up in the morning or missed the bus? I’d be losing my money plus I’ll be stuck here like every other weekend! But my three new roommates assured me they’ll wake me up on time and they even urged me to go to bed early. I did the packing and went to bed, waking up sometime later seeing a nightmare of missing the trip. Somehow I got up at four in the morning, got ready and waited as I had booked an Ola cab for 5:15 AM. They were supposed to message me the cab details at 5:00 at which I thought I’d start. There’s a 5 minutes walk from my building to main road, so being restless, I started even before 5. I got the message from Ola a little after 5 while I was already there on the road. I was panting as a group of dogs chased and scared the hell out of me, so all I wanted was to get into the cab asap. I called the driver and he said he’s going to cancel the trip as he’s far and he can’t come. Not at all surprising for me as my experience with Ola was always like this. Anyway I checked Uber without wasting time and booked one. The driver came in a few minutes and we started. He was so fast that I reached Swargate before 5:30 itself. I was waiting there when a lady came on a bike in trekking attire. We soon got along and she was sharing her trekking experiences when the bus came and we all got in. There was this guy she knew from her previous trips, and soon we three were having Idli she had brought.
It was a really scenic route as I soon started clicking through the window glass (the stupid window wasn’t opening on my side). We reached the base village few hours later. There was a drizzle and the weather was freaking cold, so the breakfast tasted really good despite being a simple upma with sev on it. Keeping the clothes for changing there, we proceeded with the lighter backpack towards the fall. We were about 40 people from Pune itself other than those from Mumbai. The trek was quite easy and scenic. I was one of the last to reach as I stopped every now and then to take pictures. There was two levels of waterfall. The upper one was small and we had lots of fun in the water. We went upwards climbing rocks and got drenched in the water by standing under the fall. Splashing water, doing somersaults, going underwater, and whatnot! The lower level was about 120 ft., which was the one we were supposed to do rappelling. Experts came and did the setup and the rappelling started two at a time. Rappelling is climbing down the rocks using rope, with an expert each at the top and bottom to hold the ends of the rope. You’ll be tied to the rope with belt kinda thing, and even if you release you hands from the rope, you won’t fall off. There’s no risk at all, and even if something goes wrong or you panic, the experts will come and get you. There was a girl, who went upside down, rescued by the trainer.
Thanks to my newfound friends, I enjoyed a lot during the wait for my turn, pulling pranks on each other, getting drenched in the water and the occasional rains, and cheering at those who were having their turns up. Finally my turn was up, I was feeling a little tensed, but the cheering was giving me a thrill as well. It feels really good when people call out ‘You’re doing it just right!’ ‘Ooohh.. Bravo!’ ‘C’mon pose like sharukh khan now’ ‘Oye.. wave!!!’ ‘Wow man! You’ve got skill!’ etc when you really need them. I had heard a lot from others’ experiences and I was confused much as to whose technique should I try to maintain balance. The important part was to keep your legs straight and not let your knee go bent, so that your body will be almost perpendicular with the rock. The trainer told me to keep a certain distance between legs and friends advised not to look down during the trip down the water. Both worked well for me and of course I prayed before starting and even on the way which helped me to keep calm and be cool and pose for pictures in between and wave for the cheering even though I couldn’t hear anything other than water. I went quite smooth and easy, not very fast though, as I enjoyed the water falling on me in high momentum. Once or twice I lost balance too because of the slippery rocks and the force of waterfall. But I remembered to regain my position however way possible and not panic. The only part I felt a little panic was the point where water was falling directly on my face, and I went short winded. But I still wanted to continue the heavy waterfall way than the sides where the force was less. Even after going down we had a lot of fun in the water, never getting tired, and at around 6:30 in the evening, we came back to the base village. It was raining but not much of a concern to already dripping us. At the village, we changed our clothes, got ready and hopped on the bus. I was thinking now it’s over and everyone will be sleeping on the way back, but then the Anthakshari session started with the entire bus divided into two teams. Songs were mostly old Hindi hits, and even I could contribute despite having a much weaker database of Hindi songs.
I know it’s been almost a week, and the memory is fresh and clearly etched on my head. I wish it stays like that forever. I hope to make more memories like that, checking off from and adding on to my bucket list. And the bonus part of this kind of trips are, you get to travel with people whom you’re meeting for the first time. New faces, with different belief or ideology, still connected by a common interest. You trust them when they give you a hand to cross a stream or a slippery rock. You care for the strangers when they are in need. And you meet friends for life; people who are as crazy as you are, with so many common interests that you never run out of topics to discuss. You learn to adjust more than ever; to encourage; to get inspired. No other activity can teach you as much lessons as traveling.
Now I should say the three magical words,
‘I love you, Pune!’
~Well, the trip was about 3 weeks ago and I’m planning for my next trip this weekends too. My laziness made the lag, and it was difficult to select pictures from the many I took. This trip literally cleansed my mind and soul, and I’m no longer worried about anything happened in the past. ~